The Arena
The Arena

Episode · 1 year ago

The Precious Cross - Balm of Our Souls

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A Heart for God: Lessons from the Life of the Holy King and Prophet David 

Now available on Audible! Sermons on the Spiritual Life by St. Philaret of Moscow 

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Now available at patristic nectar dot Org. patristic nectar publications presents a heart for God lectures on the life of the Holy Prophet and King David. Christians are indebted to no one in the Old Testament more than the Holy Prophet and King David. He alone amongst all the believers in the ancient covenant, is described by the Lord as having a heart for God. David Sin, in infamy second only to that of Adam, has been meditated upon by believers, as has David's deep repentance, which has provided an image for countless Penitence to imitate over the centuries in order to find peace with God. In these ten lectures, Father Josiah surveys the entire life of King David, from his early rise as a humble shepherd to his years in hiding from Saul, to the magnificent covenant that God cut with him, which provided the prism through which believers have come to understand he who is the ultimate son of David, the true king of pains, who reigns on David's throne at the right hand of the father, the one whose heart is gentle and perfect, Jesus Christ, the Lord heard for these and other available titles. Please visit our website at patristic nectar dot org. And now the arena with Father Josiah Trenna, in the name of the father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit. Blessed Lord's Day to all of you, brothers and sisters, on this third Sunday of the great fast, when we bring out the precious and life giving cross. I've entitled my homily the Cross, the bomb for sinners, and I want to share something that happened last night at three forty four am. It's not been a good week for my sleep and it that continuation of bad sleeps happen again last night. Three hundred forty four, I heard screeches and a terrible smash. Wasn't that unusual? Actually, it's been a feature in my twenty plus years downtown. I ran outside with a flashlight only to see a car kind of pulling back onto the road and then trying to get away. clublock come up, come up, copop, tire pop, whole front right panel...

...completely broken, pieces everywhere on the ground. But they thought maybe it'd be a good idea to drive away and I met my neighbor out there. They had come down the street and run into a fire hydrant and then they pulled down the road a little bit and stopped and I was out there conversing with the neighbor whose bedroom was twenty feet beyond that fire hydrant. His pregnant wife was in bed and he was out there with me, and then they decided to come back our way, so they turned around and they came back and we just stood there and just wave as they drove off. As they drove off, it reminded me of the time that I think I mentioned to you some years ago when it also in the middle of the night, I heard a car at high speeds coming right towards my house. You know downtown, you know my house literally is that you run into my house if you continue up street. Thankfully I have a large wall in front of my house made of these massive limestones back from the early days of Riverside. And the car came and obviously the thief did not know the area that there was a tea and a stop sign. He thought the street just continued, so he just ran at full speed right into my wall and by the time I got out there he was crawling out the broken window and hopping down the street trying to escape. Or then there if the time when, in the middle of the day, car came barreling down and went through the stop sign and smashed into the back of one of my son's friends who had just arrived and parked his car and come inside. Or maybe there's the time my wife was out watering and she heard a car coming down the street and it just somehow it was coming down with our wall on this ride and just I'm left to use the phone or something sent text. That was the last thing he did, because his car just caught on the wall and completely smashed right into the wall. All of those stories together, besides letting you know how much interesting activity there is in my neighborhood. In each case, I thought to myself about myself, and I did last night. I saw that poor car, such a distant it was a Mercedes, such a distant, poor image of what it was meant to be and what it was just a few minutes before. Make it all this noise, nothing working right anymore. I thought to myself, Curiol as one, welcome to the human race. Welcome to the human race.

This is exactly us, don't we know it? And isn't this the purpose of the first three weeks of great lent? We have our enthusiasm grow for the great fast. We know that it's a time of immense grace, lots of miracles, so many beautiful things that you get what you give, what you put some effort into it, God's going to reward you big time. We're going to be able to come to posca with so much happiness and we come with that enthusiasm when we launch into pure week this year, I gave you a challenge, those of you who were willing to take it up, and thank God many of you were. I'm touched by that. We are attempting to go through all of the days, all forty days of lent, without speaking about someone else's sin. We have all this enthusiasm. I wonder how you all doing on that challenge. I am very serious about it and I am so ashamed of myself, and I was so ashamed of myself on pure Monday. How how did I sin on pure Monday, not eating or drinking? And there it was, and I just looked at my ever vigilant helper known as presbyter Catherine, and she's just shaking her head at me. Didn't you say? Yep, Yep, I did, Yep I did, and that wasn't the first time. We're not what we were made to be. Brothers and sisters, we're all banged up. We're like those messed up cars. We were made more glorious than any Mercedes ever was. Our hearts were full of the love of God. Our minds were prophetic, able to pierce meaning and discern intention and see the logos or the the structure of every aspect of God's creation. We were honored by the mountains and the trees and the hills and the rivers and every animal that existed. The birds loved us. Even the great lions bowed down before us are our life was glorious. We had a closeness to God. We were literally robed in royal garments. The Holy Spirit dwelt upon us. We were intelligent, like there's no tomorrow. We were powerful. We had no needs. Adam and eve didn't...

...eat because they were burdened by hunger. They weren't burned by the sun. The Sun did what they asked, just like when the Prophet Joshua asked the son to stop, and that holiness in his life, which was a picture of Adam how he was really fashioned. The Sun cooperated in for twenty four hours, didn't move, stayed right there. This is what we're like and this is what we're going to be. One of the worst results of the Godless, evolutionary secularism that we live in is that we actually Fak this is what it means to be a human being. This is it. We treat the fallen reality. We treat the car after the horrible accidents like that's how it came out of the factory. Not True, not true. We have had serious damage, which is why we have lent, which is why we have the church, which is why we have the mysteries and all the sacred sacraments. So why we have the word of God. We are in process of restoration, but wow does the first weeks of lent do they hurt. I thought of a verse that Saint Paul wrote when he was reflecting on himself. For those of you who have been going through our Romans study on Wednesday night, you're going to hear it this Wednesday, because this Wednesday is chapter seven and it comes from Chapter Seven. This is what St Paul says. Listen to this for what I am doing I do not understand. Let me just stop there. Can you relate to that? For what I am doing I do not understand. I confuse myself every day by doing things which I don't believe in. For goodness, I don't believe in talking about people sins, let alone after I've challenged my parish to join me in the task and then failing day one. I understand what Paula saying. For what I am doing, I do not understand, for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very everything I hate. I know that nothing good dwells in my flesh, for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. Oh, doesn't that hurt? I find the principle then, that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. This is Saint Paul, a man who scaled the heights, a man who was so god loving that he was willing to go to hell to save people. Even prayed God if they could...

...be saved. Anyone to sent? Send Me. Can you imagine? This is the first lesson. I think of the first opening weeks of lent. We learn many, many things, and our wretchedness is the first and, brothers and sisters, that is a must lesson. If we don't get that lesson, nothing that Jesus has to offer us is going to make any sense at all. The church isn't going to make any sense if we don't get that lesson, the lesson of our wretchedness. My second point is that, as much as that hurts, the reality of things, I hope that you can take this from me, and I'm speaking mostly about myself, as much as that hurts, the reality of things is way, way worse, way worse, just because I found out this pure Monday in such an obvious way and through the dutiful help of my wife and then later of my own children. Aren't they wonderful? Yes, they are. I wish I always thought so. When they were correcting me, I found out lots of things. But, brothers and sisters, what about all the things I don't know? What about all the wretchedness that I'm not even clued into, and I'm not just obviously falling over myself in front of my family for them to correct me with? What about all that? What about all the hidden wretchedness? We have a very dim vision. I'm only talking about what I can actually see. Never believe that the sins that you see are the sins that you have. Never believe that when you come to confession, don't say at the end that's all father really. You sure about that? Maybe you could add that I know, that's all that I know. Assume, in fact, brothers and sisters, that what you know is a minority, and if you can take it from me, assume it's a tiny minority. Think of all the people that Jesus describes in Matthew Twenty Five, on the last Great Day of judgment when he separates the sheep from the goats. There's a huge mass of goats, there's a huge mass of sheep. But when our lord explain to the goats all the things they did wrong, he tells them six major sins. What was their response every time? When did we ever do that?...

When did we not do that? When did we not do this? When did we not they were completely blind to their own sins. Just because they didn't know them doesn't mean that they weren't there. They were very obvious to Jesus. He saw them as clear as they can. I go on, Joe Sigh, as clear as they this is the second point. We only see a little, tiny bit. This much. We do not want any bad surprises on Judgment Day. We want to face ourselves, brothers, now, and this is why the church is asking us to do this. Although at least things I'm describing mission accomplished. This is exactly what lends, for this is the result of grace. What do you want to see in your life? Don't look for visions, don't look for you know wonderful things about the future, to be some prophetess or some prophets so you can see and divine the future. The father say, if you want to see anything, ask God to show you your sins, something you can do something about and have salvation. We don't want any big surprises on that day, and so we have to face ourselves now. We have to discover who we are. We have to embrace the reality of being sinners now, and then we can be brought by the holy church to this wonderful, this glorious, this unspeakably Gracious Day, the day of the Pressures Cross, the veneration of the precious cross placed in the wisdom of the church. are kindly mother, right in the middle of lent marking the halfway point, because that's what the cross marks today. Fifty percent done, fifty percent done and the first half of making progress. It's coming to grip with ourselves now. We can be shown the ladder next week, once we really believe that we are way down low. I mean, if we think we're already liked by birth on rank number twenty nine, what's the ladder going to do for you? Right? But if we recognize we're weight down low, that ladder is very helpful. All the steps, the guidance on how to become a loving person, how to become a good, holy God lover. Then we can see Mary of Egypt, a woman who floated above the ground when she prayed, a woman who shows us what repentance can do. Today, all of the lessons of great lent are joined into one at the foot of the cross. The Cross tells us...

...both of those things. That's why it's in the center. Nothing in the whole world tells us the truth about ourselves as sinners as the cross, and nothing in the world tells us about the solution, the cure for our wretchedness. Then the cross. It bears witness to both things. How bad are our sins? So bad that we could not be saved except by the son of God descending from Heaven and dying on a cross for us. That's how bad they are. If there was any easier solution, it would have been done. There was none. There was no solution for us except that. And how do you measure how sick you are except by the extremity of the remedy? If you have to go through months of radiation just to get your tumors small enough for the doctors to go in and do a twelve hour surgery, just so that you can come out and maybe have a ten percent survival rate, and that's what they tell you, what is your conclusion about how sick you really are? Pretty sick, pretty sick, and that's exactly what you should think of when you see the cross. If there was no solution for us except for the unthinkable, the son of God to be given to us by his father. And we can't even describe the love that the son has for the father, way past our grasp. will learn it by experience, through eternity, by sharing in it. But God loved us so much that he was willing to give his only begotten son so that whoever believes in him might not die but live forever. This is the measure, this is the extremity of the remedy, and the Cross also bears witness to the all powerful and immeasurable love that God has for us and for every single human being. How unwilling God was to see us perish, how unwilling God was to see us get what we deserve for our sins, and Paul's very clear. In the very text that I'm I read from earlier, he says the wages, what we deserve, all of us of sin, is death. God was totally unwilling for us to pay that price, so he paid it on our behalf. He took all of the things that threatened us and threatened to take us away from him. He took them on himself. He bore every sorrow for us, he bore every sickness for us, he bore sin for...

...us, he bore death for us, he bore the assaults of the devils, he swallowed them up, he dissolved them all by His grace, gave us life so that we can be restored, we can be what we're meant to be, fashioned into the glory, a glorious image of God. This is the promise, this is what God has done, and Paul is able to say this. Neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing is able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus, Our Lord. This is the bomb, brothers and sisters, for our very humbled souls. When you look at that cross, remember the love of God for you, God's willingness to come for you. I'll end with a beautiful scripture that I love from the proverbs goes like this. Like cold water to a parched soul, so is good news from a distant land, like cold water to a part soul, so is good news from a distant land. There is no more parched soul than one of US sinners understanding our brokenness. There is no more part soul than there. And there is no more distant land for a broken cinner then the land where God lives and the holy live in the Kingdom of God. And there is no more good news but the Gospel, the word of the Cross for a part soul so far from that glorious land, bringing the news that the water of life has come and it's flowing from the cross of our Savior, from his very side. Hall She's glory to His name. We hope that you have enjoyed and have been edified by this presentation offered to you by Patristic Nectar Publications, a nonprofit organization committed to nourishing the spiritually thirsty with the sweet teachings of the Holy Fathers. If you are interested in other available titles or if you would like more information on patristic nectar publications, please visit our website at www dot patristic nectar dot org. Again, that's www dot patristic...

...nectar dot org.

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